Triad Wars has a number of noteworthy things going for it that will be apparent right on the surface. For starters, the game is set in the same fictional universe as Sleeping Dogs which received generally positive reception from both critics and consumers alike. It’s worth pointing out that Triad Wars isn’t considered a direct sequel, but rather a spinoff that expands on many of the open world elements helped pave the way for Sleeping Dog’s success.
That open world approach is likely one of the game’s biggest surface-level strengths. Having played an untold amount of MMOs over the past 16 years, anything less than a fully explorable environment feels severely limiting and tends to pale in comparison. And unlike the zany antics and not-even-going-to-try-to-be-serious tone of games like the later entries in the Saints Row franchise, or the more recent Xbox One exclusive Sunset Overdrive, Triad Wars is more akin to APB Reloaded.
Unless you’ve been following the game’s development closely since it was officially unveiled last September, it can be hard to glean anything more specific from that surface level intro point for Triad Wars. The somewhat confusing official website offers little to no substantial details on the game, and is more of a marketing vehicle than what we’d traditionally expect from major online PC games. At best you’ve probably noted that Triad Wars appears to be a game for the Bros since there isn’t a single female character to be found in the official screenshots revealed up to this point.
This tells us something about the target demographic for Triad Wars. Nothing against Bro Gaming mind you (not to be confused with Pro Gaming which can, at times, be pretty darn Bro-Centric) but if you're primarily interested in games that offer equal gender representation for playable character options, you might want to look elsewhere.
Triad Wars First Impressions
This past weekend we spent some quality time with Triad Wars to help fill in some of the blanks both for ourselves, and our readers. A quick note before we begin our first look hands-on impressions of the Triad Wars closed beta:
- If you’re interested in participating in the Triad Wars closed beta test, we currently have an active closed beta key giveaway!
Triad Wars – Major Points of Reference
The three titles above – Sleeping Dogs, Arkham City, and Saints Row 2 – are a good place to start if you’re curious as to what type of gameplay to expect with Triad Wars. While each of them may have an influence on the game, Triad Wars absolutely stands on its own yet should appeal to fans of these particular titles.
The main tagline for TW is “own the underworld”, and that’s exactly what you’ll be setting out to do right from the start. Instead of the SR2 approach of a single rival gang owning a massive chunk of the map, in TR there are numerous rival thugs with smaller holdings similar to your own that you’ll be taking out in an effort to expand your own influence in the city.
Central to your progression will be your safe house and its surrounding property. Over time you’ll be able to build new structures that help increase your wealth and other essential commodities. For example, in my initial setup I opted to build a cock fighting racket to help bring in some additional cash. Owning this structure immediately opened up the option of building a proper casino, but first you need to go out and kill some rival gang members.
These missions are core to the experience, with each one playing out a bit differently than the last. Meat cleaver in hand, I quickly planted it in the skulls of my first rivals and began leveling up my character. The character progression system will feel familiar to anyone with some MMO experience under their belt, with XP awarded for both basic kills and mission completion.
Missions are on a timer, so you’ll have to work quickly once taking one on. There are optional objectives that can be completed for each, with a minimum requirement that allows you to complete the mission, though you’ll typically want to aim for the maximum rewards whenever possible.
While there is plenty of gun play in Triad Wars, I particularly enjoy the melee combat system. This is very reminiscent of the Batman Arkham games, but taken to extremes. For starters, you don’t usually see Batman planting a meat cleaver in someone’s face, and his combat style sees him jumping around from enemy to enemy in quick succession.
Triad Wars does have the basic left-click attack, right-click to block setup, but extends it quite a bit by factoring in momentum and other situational aspects or key inputs to expand into a proper combo system over time.
As an open world experience, Triad Wars offers perhaps more depth to progression than you’d come to expect. Favors can be called in that allow you to unlock things like new weapons or vehicles, your territory expansion continually evolves in a very real physical sense to help shape the game world around you, and your character learns plenty of badass combat moves over time.
The first few hours spent in Triad Wars has been extremely enjoyable, and the game does a far better job than most when it comes to teaching you its core systems through practicle application. Perhaps its greatest weakness so far is the distinct lack of character customization options aside from some stock character archetypes for each of the three main triads. As noted at the start, female characters simply don't exist, and if you're otherwise the type of gamer who enjoys robust character creation systems, Triad Wars does fall extremely short in that department.
Those nitpicks aside, the game has proven to be both fun and engaging overall. We’ll be digging even deeper into Triad Wars in the coming weeks, so be sure to check back for more of our ongoing coverage.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Triad Wars Game Page.